Continuing the toy-like theme of vintage office equipment, does anyone recall the Roladex?
I never had one myself but the ones I saw looked so nifty, straight out of an episode of Marlowe or Department S. I remember it basically being a huge circular stack of cards impaled onto a carousel stand creating a sort of O-shaped mouse treadmill look. Presumably you could easily see the letter of the alphabet for that card but I never had chance to have a go worst luck. I just wasn't cool enough for a Roladex. Why gravity didn't just let all the cards fall to the bottom of the circle I don't know! Like Blackpool's Big Wheel they just kept on turnin'! I like to imagine some Roladex's having contacts like Elvis Presley, Jimmy Dean and Mamie Van Doren in them and finding one at a car boot sale!
What I did have in several of my many 'positions' since starting office work when I was 17 in 1978 was a boring old pack of index cards in a box on my desk. These were alphabetical and not a million miles away from the spring-loaded cassette full of contact cards my parents had had next to the telephone in the Sixties and early Seventies. Every conceivable contact I had with a particular initial was scribbled onto a blank index card including both postal address and phone numbers. With the dawn of email in the 1990's I may have even wrote email addresses out by hand on index cards! Old habits die hard!
Index cards were also popular with birdwatchers and naturalists for archiving sightings of specific birds, plants and animals. Names, dates, locations were all added to a card for that species and gradually building up a picture of it over time [my nephew Steve published a bird book of these very things!] I have several of these boxed index sets in the attic from my naturalist days and even considered it as a way of collating info on vintage toys back in the Nineties. It would have been ideal really: name of toy, year of manufacture, where last seen, cross- references etc. A Roladex would have been even snazzier but the heyday of the index card sadly came and went with the onset of the home computer and the unfathomable storage power of the floppy disk.
Did you have index cards or the cooler Roladex?